If you are reading this, it’s likely that you are the daughter to aging parents. Or, perhaps you’re the daughter-in-law to aging in-laws. In any case, you’re probably the one who is going to have to handle estate matters as your parents age. Another to-do on your list, and one that many people aren’t prepared for when the time comes.
Estate planning can be an uncomfortable topic to bring up with your parents, as it can be an emotional subject.
We asked Greg Racki, local attorney and founder of RackiLaw, for his expert advice on how to broach the subject. Here are five ways start the estate planning conversation with your aging parents:
1. Approach the topic gently and sensitively
Start by explaining your concerns and why you think it’s important for your parents to think about estate planning. Emphasize that you are coming from a place of love and concern, not trying to take control of their affairs. Share that you’ve been thinking about your own planning and want to be able to support them and their care-takers.
2. Discuss the benefits of estate planning
Explain that estate planning can help ensure that their wishes are carried out, protect their hard-earned assets from creditors, reduce the risk of family disputes, and minimize the costs (including taxes) and complications of the probate process. Simple documents like a health care proxy or power of attorney ensure their loved ones (that’s you!) are able to make decisions on their behalf if they were incapable.
3. Offer to help
Let your parents know that you are willing to help them with the process, whether that means finding an attorney, helping them weigh their options, or just being there to listen and offer support.
4. Use examples to illustrate the importance
Share examples of people you know who have had to deal with difficult probate or family disputes after the death of a loved one, to help your parents understand the importance of planning ahead.
5. Suggest meeting with a professional
If your parents are still unsure about estate planning, consider suggesting that they meet with a qualified attorney to discuss their options. A professional can provide unbiased information and help them understand the benefits of estate planning. Many professionals offer initial consultations free of charge.
Remember: everyone benefits from a few simple estate planning documents, no matter the size of the estate. Visit rackilaw.com to learn more!